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Our new ambassador - Jennie Jacques

November 30, 2021

We are delighted to welcome actor Jennie Jacques as an Action for M.E. Ambassador.

Jennie Jacques is a British actor who came to fame in the drama Desperate Romantics, which aired on BBC Two in 2009. She then went on to star in the hit period drama Vikings that streamed on Amazon Prime Video between 2015-2019. Jennie played the recurring character of Saxon Queen, Judith.

Jennie is helping us launch our Big Give Christmas Challenge 2021, today. Every donation that we receive will be doubled at no cost to you thanks to the match-pot generously set up by the Candis Club and other philanthropists that support us. The money raised will improve the access to our services for underserved communities such as those with severe M.E. along with increasing awareness and understanding by educating GPs and healthcare professionals through the development of training resources and podcasts. 1,930 people with M.E. will benefit from information, support, and signposting. 180 will receive advocacy to ensure their needs are heard and understood. 140 children with M.E. and their families will be supported to access our services and care provisions.

Jennie provided a short interview for us earlier in November to share her experience and why supporting Action for M.E. is so important:

How did you first hear about Action For ME?

A few months ago, Action for M.E. reached out to see if I’d be open to doing an interview with The Times. Privately, I’d been debating how to talk, for the first time, about my personal connection to M.E./CFS, so it was quite remarkable timing. I agreed to do the interview with Sean O’Neil, Chief Reporter at The Times, who put together a very well-executed piece. I’ll always be grateful for this. We then kept in touch with Sonya, CEO at Action for M.E. My instinct was that I should be an Ambassador for a U.K. charity for M.E. Sonya’s work ethic and communication skills sealed the deal. I’m excited to join forces with Action for M.E. Moving forward, I endeavour to continue raising awareness for virus-initiated illness, utilising my platform.

Can you tell us more about your personal connection to ME?

Yes. I was diagnosed with M.E./CFS initiated by a severe viral infection. I was hospitalised twice in 2019, with an acute severe EBV infection, roughly a year before the 2020 pandemic. And this was complicated by severe viral hepatitis, amongst other nasties. Approximately three years ago, now. It has been a painful and tumultuous time. And an eye-opener on many levels. Long Covid patients will likely be able to empathise. Although CFS stands for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, this illness is a lot more than feeling “fatigued.” M.E. stands for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. The "myalgic" refers to muscle pain and “itis” (ending of the word "encephalomyelitis") literally means inflammation. Originally it was inflammation of the brain that was thought to be the issue. I wish I could tell you exactly what it is today, but it seems we are dealing with a bit of a Rubik’s cube of an illness.

Can you tell us about your latest idea for our BIG GIVE campaign?

Of course! I reached out to a few of my co-star Queens from the History channel, Vikings, tv show. And all three replied that they’d help me to raise awareness. So, there is going to be a fun chance to win... not one, not two, not three... BUT four signed photos of us; Katheryn Winnick, Alyssa Sutherland, Amy Bailey and me! The Viking and Saxon Queens unite to validate the severity of virus-initiated debilitation. I couldn’t be more grateful for their support.

How could someone support our Big Give campaign and be in for a chance to win the signed photographs?

Simply donate £4 here to the link on my Instagram and then post any photo wearing a crown - or the colour BLUE for M.E./CFS! Just use the hashtag #action4mequeens and we’ll choose a winner, at random, to receive ALL four signed photos!

What’s your hope for the future for those with ME/CFS?

My hope is that the science is sufficiently funded. And off the back of this, we find a cure. And I hope Long Covid accelerates the process. Just as my Viking and Saxon Queens have joined forces, I hope the Long Covid community will unite with the ME/CFS community. I sense it’s already happening. Covid-19 is a new virus but virus-initiated debilitation is not new. And sadly, it remains widely misunderstood and can be seriously unforgiving. Due to the striking similarities between M.E./CFS and Long Covid, I am personally exploring any revolutionary treatment(s) which may have brought relief to some Long Covid patients; if the science we have behind virus-initiated illnesses, to date, supports it. Although the science is limited, it does exist. And I am holding on, fiercely, to the concept that every cloud has a silver lining.